Friday, October 6, 2017

REVIEW: NBC's 'Superstore' and 'Chicago Fire' (October 5)

Various reviews from NBC shows for October 5, 2017:

NBC's Superstore - Episode 3.02 "Brett is Dead"
NBC's Chicago Fire - Episode 6.02 "Ignite on Contact"

In 2017, it's impossible to watch every scripted show out there. There are over 450 of them. It's even more impossible to even provide adequate coverage of some of them. Great shows slip through the cracks. Some shows take awhile to figure themselves out. So as a way for me to provide more coverage of various shows, I'll just be writing some paragraph reviews of the various shows that aired new episodes on NBC on October 5, 2017. Enjoy!

Superstore - "Brett Is Dead"
Amy worries that Dina may be struggling with anxiety while Jonah tries to find out more about Garrett's past. Mateo and Cheyenne avoid work by convincing Glenn that they were close with Brett. Written by Sierra Teller Ornelas and directed by Ryan Case

Sandra has stealthily become the best and most consistently funny character on this show. She has so many great moments in this episode - from playing Radiohead's "Creep" at Brett's memorial service to being able to give a convincing lie to Garrett about a conversation she and Jonah were having. She's just always great and I really hope that Jerry is able to survive his tornado injuries. She deserves some happiness. And overall, this is a great episode of the show. The subplot with Mateo and Cheyenne fake mourning Brett isn't the best but it still has the solid punchline in the end with Brett just returning to work alive and not acting like it's a big deal. Glenn was actually right to be hopeful about his survival. And then, both Jonah and Amy's stories were very powerful. Jonah wants to believe he's close enough friends with Garrett because they are now living together. And yet, he isn't and doesn't deserve to know the story about how he got into the wheelchair. That's never been important before. I wouldn't be surprised if the show never tells us anything about it. But it still has power in this moment when Garrett calls Jonah out for obsessing over this instead of just being a good friend. Meanwhile, Amy's concern for Dina's mental health following the tornado is really poignant. It tackles PTSD in a surprising and emotionally earned way. Amy is pushing to get Dina the help she needs but the systems aren't in place to ensure that she does. And in the end, she gets to serve as therapist which largely just leads to hearing every single detail about Dina's life. That's a fun kicker that really brings the episode home. A

Chicago Fire - "Ignite on Contact"
After learning the school fire wasn't an accident, Boden turns up the pressure on Severide and Casey to investigate the cause of the fire that trapped his wife. Fueled by a competitive bet against Firehouse 87, Mouch pushes all of the wrong buttons in his need to win the competitive challenge known as the firefighter muster. As Kidd settles into her new living arrangement, her resolved feelings prompt her to question the intentions of newcomer Hope. Written by Andrea Newman and directed by John Hyams

I just haven't connected with this season of Chicago Fire yet. This episode had a strong enough hook to it that was established in last week's premiere. Casey and Severide are investigating a school fire that is personal to Firehouse 51 because Donna works there and suspects it was arson. It allows emotions to boil up. But the characters act a little too irrationally as well. Boden explodes when Casey and Severide seem to be acting against his wishes even though they understand the severity of the situation. Severide threatens a "kid" - seriously that actor wasn't convincing as a high school student, even one held back twice - and then fails to really apologize for his actions once he's proven to be innocent. He mostly just turns it into a lecture about needing to do better in the future which is a weird note to end on. It's appreciated that this story doesn't linger for too long in the early going of the new season. It's all wrapped up in this hour with the fire being arson that got too out of control. It's a bittersweet and serious moment. And then, the show just transitions to the fun of the muster. That event has been talked up a bunch this season so far. So, it's weird that a number of the events just happen offscreen. Gabby, Kidd, Herrmann, Otis and Cruz are seen practicing their events. And then, the later sequence just tells us their results. It really cuts the time down on this story. It would have been more fun to spend more time with this event. The show works best when it's about the makeshift family of this firehouse and how their lives can still be fun despite the seriousness of their job. There's a little tonal whiplash in this episode. But that final sequence at the muster should have been elongated more instead of just being a solid punchline with Boden and Casey showing up to lead 51 to victory. B-